Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations in New York Lourdes O. Yparraguirre underscored the empowerment of local communities and public-private partnership as critical elements in the Philippines' national strategy to protect critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks. In a statement delivered at the Arria-formula meeting convened by the government of Ukraine at the United Nations headquarters on November 21, Ambassador Yparraguirre said that the local government units, NGO's and civil society at large are government's partners in its nationwide efforts to protect vital infrastructure. "They are force multipliers in conducting their area-specific training programs; in raising security awareness and monitoring; and in preventing terrorist attacks against vital institutions, places of convergence and economic key points," Ambassador Yparraguirre said. "Partnering with the private sector is given high importance, recognizing that many places of convergence are also economic hubs run by private commercial entities," the Ambassador added. In addition to the empowerment of the local communities and partnering with the private sector, she cited that under the Philippines' whole-of-nation approach to countering terrorism, the terrorism prevention pillar aims to strengthen the security of critical infrastructure, vulnerable establishments, facilities and places of convergence; to strengthen inter-agency collaboration; to protect borders from crossing, entry and/or departure of entities involved in terrorism; and to interdict materials and tools used in terrorism especially chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials. "All these efforts remain firmly rooted in the principles of the protection of human rights and the rule of law," Ambassador Yparraguirre emphasized. The November 21 meeting aimed to raise awareness of the impact that attacks on critical infrastructures can have on communities. Critical infrastructure systems essential to the well-being of society, such as those related to banking and finance, telecommunications, emergency services, industry, transportation, high-tech energy and water supply, have the potential to become "single points of failure". Such attacks often result in the loss of civilian life as well as the destruction of property, and can even compromise national defense capacities.
Source: Philippine Information Agency